Niche Specific Microbiota-Dependent and Independent Bone Loss around Dental Implants and Teeth

O. Heyman, Y. Horev, N. Koren, O. Barel, I. Aizenbud, Y. Aizenbud, M. Brandwein, L. Shapira, A. H. Hovav, A. Wilensky*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Oral mucosal homeostasis is achieved by complex immunologic mechanisms, orchestrating host immunity to adapt to the physiologic functions of the various specialized niches in the oral cavity. Dental implants introduce a novel mucosal niche to the immune system to deal with. Nevertheless, the immune mechanisms engaged toward implants and whether they have broader effects are not well defined. Using a murine model, we found an accumulation of neutrophils and RANKL-expressing T and B lymphocytes in the implant-surrounding mucosa, accompanied by local bone loss. Surprisingly, the presence of implants had an impact on remote periodontal sites, as elevated inflammation and accelerated bone loss were detected in intact distant teeth. This was due to microbial dysbiosis induced by the implants, since antibiotic treatment prevented bone loss around teeth. However, antibiotic treatment failed to prevent the loss of implant-supporting bone, highlighting the distinct mechanisms mediating bone loss at each site. Further analysis revealed that implants induced chronic lymphocyte activation and increased mRNA expression of IFN-α and accumulation of IFN-α–producing plasmacytoid dendritic cells, which we previously reported as bone-destructive immune responses. Collectively, this study demonstrates that implants have a strong and broad impact on oral mucosal homeostasis, inducing periodontal bone loss in a niche-specific manner that is both microbiota dependent and independent.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1092-1101
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Dental Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© International & American Associations for Dental Research 2020.


  • bacterial dysbiosis
  • immune homeostasis
  • marginal bone loss
  • peri-implant mucosa
  • peri-implantitis
  • plasmacytoid dendritic cells


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